same 'grip of death' with 3GS iOS 3.1.3 & 4.0

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by billimek, Jul 4, 2010.

  1. billimek macrumors newbie

    Dec 2, 2009
    Like many of you I was disgusted to see what I thought was a serious design flaw with the iPhone 4 hardware and the arrogant response from Apple & Steve Jobs ('just hold it different or use a case'). I even canceled my iPhone 4 pre-order.

    However I just did a bunch of testing with two different 3GS iphones in my home. One is running the iOS 3.1.3 and the other is running the iOS 4.0 software. The phones were freshly-rebooted before starting all of these tests.

    Using the app against the same server (Tallahasse FL) with the phone in the same spot for each test and each test re-run 5 times for each phone and each position, I came up with the following surprising results:

    Control: iPhone 3GS iOS 3.1.3 & iOS 4.0 with or without a case resting on the desk:
    Very low latency and all tests resulted in fast data speeds.​

    iPhone 3GS iOS 3.1.3 & iOS 4.0 without a case held naturally in the left hand as well as held naturally in the right hand:
    3 out of 5 tests did not even complete and resulted in no data connectivity. The successful tests had extremely high latency and low speeds.​

    iPhone 3GS iOS 3.1.3 & iOS 4.0 with a case held naturally in the left hand as well as held naturally in the right hand:
    Longer latency but all tests resulted in very fast data speeds.​

    So the point is that, at least for me, the 3GS experiences the 'grip of death' issues (indeed the bars dropped from 4 to 1 whenever I held it in either left or right hand without a case) when held naturally in either left or right hand with no case. Perhaps the silver metal band around the 3GS causes similar antenna issues that people see with the iPhone 4?

    And when a case was used there were no issues when held naturally in either the left or right hand.

    I have to admit that I thought that problems reported were isolated to the iPhone 4 and are a design flaw - but now I'm not so sure.
  2. bowlerman625 macrumors 68020


    Jun 17, 2009
    Chicago, IL area
  3. jkrutch macrumors regular

    Dec 19, 2008
    That's what the engineers are saying too. All cell phones are subject to these issues. This whole thing is being blown out of proportion. Like so many other things. Time to move on....
  4. saxon48 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 14, 2010
    That's odd. From the complaints about the iPhone 4's reception issues I've been reading, almost everyone has compared it to their 3G/3GS with no issue.

    I guess every phone does lose a bar or to if you hold it... But it doesn't make any sense at all that it would happen on your 3GS.
  5. keyofnight macrumors regular


    Mar 19, 2009
    Seattle, WA, USA.
    A request…

    Is it possible for you to tell us the "modem firmware versions for the phones?(—it's in Settings -> General -> About... Just in case.)
  6. billimek thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 2, 2009
    They are both 05.11.07
  7. billimek thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 2, 2009
    I did all of the tests in my basement where the coverage is very poor - I figured this would be a good way to see any effect of holding vs. not holding when doing data transfers.

    For what it's worth I saved all of the test results in a google spreadsheet that should be public.
  8. Resist macrumors 68030

    Jan 15, 2008
    I excepted the fact that any cell phone, not using an external antenna, would show reduced bars depending on how you hold it and where the internal antenna is placed. I also understood a case could further reduce reception. It is only when these limitations cause the phone to drop calls, that I get concerned.

    Maybe it's time cell phone manufactures bring back the external antenna, so we can be done with signal issues. I would have no problem with a retractable antenna on the iPhone, if it meant great signal reception and no dropped calls due to this issue.
  9. elistan macrumors 6502a

    Jun 30, 2007
    Denver/Boulder, CO
    Excellent test, thanks. You seem to have a very scientific approach to things. :cool:
    Can you do one more thing?
    On the iOS 3.1.3 device - use Field Test (dial *3001#12345#*) and report the signal strength in dB when the phone is resting on the desk, and again when being held various ways. Anandtech reported very low signal loss when holding their 3GS, but that's only a single phone so it'd be interesting to get data on more units.
  10. iPadThai macrumors 6502a

    Apr 25, 2010
  11. Sean4123 macrumors 6502

    Sep 4, 2009
    If you were planning on using a case with your iPhone 4, then you'd be crazy not to get one. I don't understand why everyone thinks that this issue is making every iphone 4 UNUSABLE. Mine works better than I could have imagined.
  12. Ronnoco macrumors 68030


    Oct 16, 2007
    United States of America
    Everyone doesn't think that. Just a few Apple Haters. Most people with a serious dropped call problem have either returned the phone for a new one or a refund or are waiting for Apple to help resolve the issue with with a software/firmware update and/or perhaps giving free bumpers to those affected by actual dropped calls and or date issues.
    Most of the over the top noise is from Appe Haters looking for a chink in the armour to attack.
    It has been shown ad nauseam, that nearly every phone on the market today will drop bars if you cover the antenna...some people have had some serious call/data drop issues in low signal areas but this issue has been so blown out of proportion with idiots posting threads such as "iPhone 4 is unusable" or "Fatal design flaw was known by Apple, iPhone 4 massive fail" and other moronic declarations mostly by Android trolls and the typical Apple Haters we see on nearly every board on Mac Rumors...
    Things seemed to have died down now that the Mods have cracked down on the morons and began deleting and merging threads...most of the trolls have gone back to the Android boards or have been banned so it's easier to see just who is REALLY having serious reception issues...
  13. SpaceKitty macrumors 68040


    Nov 9, 2008
    Fort Collins Colorado
    I pointed this out that last week that the 3GS has the same problem. I just never noticed it before because it was in a case since day one.

    Last week in the macrumors news forum, I posted this very thing and I guess people were too upset about their iPhone 4s to even care. Maybe this is a software fix.
  14. SpaceKitty macrumors 68040


    Nov 9, 2008
    Fort Collins Colorado
    Here is why I think people didn't have such a big problem with the 3GS. Most people had theirs in a case so the problem wasn't well known.

    With the 4, hardly anyone is using a case so the problem seems so blown out of proportion.

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